Microsoft Security Essentials review

Microsoft is having a second stab at the anti-virus suite, only this time its package is free. Has it got it right second time around?

Microsoft Security Essentials

Security Essentials is Microsoft's second go at producing a standalone security package for Windows.

It replaces the now-discontinued Windows Live OneCare, but takes a fundamentally different tack. Where OneCare was a commercial package, positioned as a comprehensive security solution, Security Essentials is free and as the name implies keeps things as simple as possible.

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And in our tests, Security Essentials did indeed detect almost all of the malware we pitted it against, picking up 96 per cent of our selection of live files. That's a very creditable score, though Avira's free AntiVir package scored 100 per cent.

The no-frills approach brings some collateral benefits too. In terms of ease of use, Security Essentials is hard to beat. Its interface comprises just four tabs, labelled "Home", "Update", "History" and "Settings". It's laughably easy to get an at-a-glance view of your protection status and launch manual database updates (regular updates come down with Windows Update, making it effortless to manage Security Essentials in a business context). You can also check detected items, and access simple options such specifying folders and file types to ignore.

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